Dora García

Revolution, Fulfill Your Promise!

January 29 – April 10
Demonstrator (Sra. Margarita Robles de Mendoza) in Mexico, 1934; the sign reads: “Revolution, fulfill your promise, emancipate women!” Photo: Casasola, Fototeca Nacional, Mexico City, INAH.

The political potential of love —its strategies, manifestations, its character both intimate and public, and how it shapes community and creates legislation —form the backdrop of Dora García’s works.

Dora García presents Revolution, fulfill your promise!/¡Revolución, cumple tu promesa!, a project that includes her two more recent films focused on the exceptional legacy of Alexandra Kollontai (St. Petersburg, 1872 - Moscow, 1952), an author, Marxist feminist, October revolutionary, sexual activist, political exile and diplomat. Love with Obstacles/Amor con obstáculos (2020) and If I Could Wish for Something/Si pudiera desear algo (2021), which will premiere in the US, are the first and second chapters on a trilogy that will culminate with Amor Rojo/Red Love (2023). These films are far from being a biopic of the extraordinary life of Kollontai, but seek to trace and comprehend how the ideas she coined and defended at the beginning of the 20th century, and turned into reality for a brief period during the first years of the Soviet Revolution, have traveled across the globe, been translated and transmitted, mutated, submerged and reemerged through the different waves of feminisms until our contemporaneity.

Love with Obstacles researches the Kollontai files at the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute (now RGASPI) and selects four letters, a short science fiction narrative, and a handwritten note, that are read by six different women, portraying her life as a story of enthusiasm, disappointment, and faith in the future. This selection presents the complexity of the figure of Kollontai, and the distance between how she was portrayed by Russian officialdom and her real self. If I Could Wish for Something picks up a thread from Love with Obstacles, the image of a hand-carved present the Mexican workers gave to her when she was ambassador in Mexico, and jumps into present-day Mexican feminisms and transfeminisms.

In recent years, we have witnessed the incredible power of a new wave of feminism in Latin America, with Argentina and Mexico leading the way, which is changing public space and the public sphere forever. The film portrays images of demonstrations captured by activists and cinematographers that are edited against the backdrop of the composing and recording of a song by “La Bruja de Texcoco” —a Mexican trans woman singer that adapts traditional Mexican music and Indigenous languages to the realities of transfeminisms in Mexico. Continuing with the time-warps that characterize the entire project, the song by “La Bruja” is inspired by an old Weimar Republic song, reflecting in its lyrics the complexities of melancholy and revolutionary enthusiasm that were the hallmark of Kollontai’s writings.

Kollontai’s legacy is central to any genealogy of modern feminism and her ideas on radical social change continue to inspire and mobilize a new generation of feminist thinkers and activists.

Both films are produced by Auguste Orts. With support from Flanders Audiovisual Fund, Kulturrådet Oslo, KUF grant, KHiO Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Garage Field Research, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, On & For Production and Distribution, Diku Norwegian Artistic Research Program.

Readings of letters and diary entries written by Alexandra Kollontai

Alexandra Kollontai: Love Letters (Kärleksbrev, 1945) read by Mette Edvardsen, produced by Dora Garcia and Auguste Orts.
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Alexandra Kollontai: Letter to Pavel Dybenko (7-8 February 1922) read by Olga de Soto, produced by Dora Garcia and Auguste Orts.
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Alexandra Kollontai: Diary draft, (March 1922) read by Samah Hijaw, produced by Dora Garcia and Auguste Orts.
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Alexandra Kollontai: Letter to I.M. Maiskij (1952) read by Alex Reynolds, produced by Dora Garcia and Auguste Orts.
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About the artist
Dora García was born in 1965 in Valladolid and lives in Barcelona. She represented Spain at the 54th Venice Biennial in 2011. Dora Garcia’s works have been exhibited in Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía,Madrid; Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès, Brussels; Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto; Fonderie Darling - Centre d’Arts Visuels, Montreal; FRAC Île-de-France, Paris; Tate Modern, London; and Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, among others. Dora García was part of (d)OCUMENTA 13 in Kassel, 2nd Athens Biennial, Lyon Biennial, 29th São Paulo Biennial and Gwangju Biennial and more.